Udaipur was most probably the town I have visited most often in the last wedding season. I was even joking with my wife for a minute telling her that we should consider relocating again. It is not a big surprise as it is such a romantic little oasis with beautiful lakes and some of the most fantastic wedding destinations in India. I have already seen more than one wedding at Fateh Garh as well as at the amazing Jagmandir palace in the middle of lake Pichola but never have I come to Fateh Garh to learn that the wedding is actually going to take place at Jagmandir. Nilesh and Ronita really had this one done in style.
Fateh Garh is a beautiful and relatively newly built heritage hotel on a distant hill overlooking Udiapur’s lake Pichola. The view from the terrace of the city palace and the lake on one side and the Monsoon Palace towering over the landscape on the other side is nothing less than breathtaking. The place always makes me feel like I’m on vacation even when I come there for work.
Nilesh being Nilesh ( I managed to learn this about him in the short time we spent together) took everything upon himself to organize and produce this very small but difficult to put together wedding. It was not easy for him and the stress took it’s toll on his peace of mind but all in all it all worked out even better than he had expected and we even managed to see him smile quite a lot.
Wedding Photojournalist, Auto Rickshaw, Indian bureaucracy, Bloody Mary, Elvis in Udaipur
In the good tradition of being a wedding photojournalist, we all went together to the city registrar to make sure Nilesh and Ronita get the wedding certificate before they leave back to the UK. This was a potential horrible afternoon but I had a feeling that the good old fashioned Indian bureaucracy could turn out to be a great photo opportunity, and so it was. We were almost crying in laughter as they had to stamp their thumbs in ink and sign the documents. Nilesh could simply not believe that the clerk was using an old fashioned typing machine and later on simply stuffed their printed application in his back pocket.
That evening’s Mehendi took place on the open terrace at Fateh Garh accompanied by a group of Rajasthani dancers and Bloody Mary prepared by Nilesh’s uncle ‘Elvis’. For the life of me I cannot remember his real name as everyone there were simply Mr. Patel. Elvis was Elvis and will always be Elvis to me.
It was good to have a ‘day off’ after the mehendi as everyone was in need of one. Nilesh and Ronita only needed to make a quick jump to Jagmandir but quick jump was a little longer than expected. A spontaneous photo shoot in a parked auto rickshaw went a little further than expected. Being so absolutely in love with the auto rickshaws on the street Nilesh managed to organize one for the completely unorthodox barat. It would not be inaccurate to say that never before has a groom come to get married at Jagmandir in an auto rickshaw. It surely was a wonderful and happy procession.
Jagmandir can never be a disappointment. The beautiful palace in the middle of the lake is stunning. The wedding itself took longer that we all expected as the priest, despite being specifically instructed, decided to go about his own way. The evening light was beautiful indeed but after two hours everyone was happy to move to the reception area and have a drink and the small wedding party of only forty six really rocked the floor that night.
Here is to you Nilesh and Ronita. It was wonderful to meet you both.